Sunday, 6 April 2008

Scottish notes

I mentioned that one person was missing following a house fire in Foyers, south of Inverness a few days ago. The body of a man has now been found in the wreckage.

Meanwhile, the Coastguard has its hands full this weekend with the poor weather conditions. Snow showers cause severe deterioration of visibility, leaving several pleasure craft disorientated. Sends me wondering who on earth would venture out to sea with the forecast we've been having. Did they check the forecast?

Up in Orkney, a search was launched yesterday for a diver, who had not resurfaced from a dive to the wreck of the Markgraf in Scapa Flow at a depth of 40 metres. The worst is feared.

Scapa Flow is an area of sea, almost surrounded by the southern isles of Orkney, and was in use as a naval base until 1945. After World War I, the German Hochseeflotte was interned there - until a day in June 1919, when the commander gave the secret signal to scuttle all the ships. The islanders of Orkney watched in disbelief as one ship after another turned turtle and disappeared below the waves.

The Royal Navy was out in the North Sea, conducting exercises. By the time they hared back, nothing much could be done. Several German sailors drowned; only the highest ranking officers on board ships were aware of the scuttling plans, so the foundering of the ships even came as a surprise to the ratings.

The majority of wrecks were refloated between 1919 and 1939, but several remain at the bottom of Scapa Flow. They are an attraction to divers. They are also a source of radio-activity free metals, which certain sensitive instruments require. All iron and steel produced since Hiroshima is contaminated with radio-active isotopes as a result of nuclear explosions in the atmosphere.


  1. sounds like a busy time around your end of the world!

  2. I wonder at people's mentality. Who'd go out in a boat for pleasure in this weather?! Jeannette xx  

  3. Some people just shouldn't have a pleasure boat.  We have boating accidents all the time around here in the summer ~ not to be cruel but most are due to the operators shear stupidity.

  4. I hope you don't get much more snow this season.